15 Not-So-Grownup Things We Want to Apologize to Our Moms For
Between the stressed-out phone calls, on-the-fly job advice and "Does this look OK?" dressing-room selfies, we're still withdrawing from the Mom Savings Bank deep into our 20s and 30s.
The problem? We rarely stop to let our moms know how appreciative we are.
Saying how we feel about our moms out loud, and not just assuming they know, makes all the difference. After all, a 2014 study of late teens and 20-somethings found that "communication competency" — nailing those meaningful convos — has a meaningful impact on the relationship between adult kids and their parents. Those honest, vulnerable conversations bring us so much closer, if only we remember to have them.
Telling our moms how kickass they are, out loud, makes our relationships that much better. So in the spirit of Mother's Day and an annual Internet tradition, here is everything we'd like to apologize for doing in the last year.
1. For not remembering to ask "How are you?" when I call
Recognize this call? Swap in "bad haircut," "my girlfriend" or "new lease," and it's safe to say we all have been guilty of leaving one key thing out of our check-ins with Mom: "How are you?" While our moms are always there to talk through our issues, that road goes both ways.
2. For waiting five days too long to call you back
In a powerful speech at the 2015 Oscars ceremony, J.K. Simmons reminded us of exactly what we needed to hear: that we need to start picking up the phone and calling our moms. For anyone who has put off calling their mom back for days at a time (so, pretty much all of us), this speech is the wake-up call we need.
3. For snapping at you when you tried to give me relationship advice
Whether it's "If he's really interested, it won't be so complicated to figure out" or "You'll know when you know," we've all been on the receiving end of our moms' well-meaning but unsolicited love advice. What we often forget is that our moms have been in love, they've been brokenhearted and they've probably had to dump a few boneheads themselves. They've learned a thing or two along the way.
4. For not using my vacation days to visit you
After the souvenirs from your trip to Greece get misplaced or those Instagrams from Argentina get buried in your feed, you know who will still be in your life? Your mom. That time with Mom can be more than just the basic days like winter holidays or Thanksgiving. She'd appreciate it more than you know.
5. For assuming that you have time to deal with my very, very small problem
Making the assumption that our adult mothers have time to hear about that weird headache we got on Monday or the slow drain of the tub is also taking her for granted. She has her own life, whether it's a career, her own friends or just, you know, pursuing her own interests (yes, she has those too). Respecting her time means appreciating the individual she is.
6. For rolling my eyes at your intensely feminist (but really quite smart) advice
We've all heard "Stop caring what others think," "Do what makes you happy" or "Trust your instinct." While these patented mom-isms might grate on us, they shouldn't. Our mothers most likely came of age during the second-wave feminist movement and they know exactly what they mean when they dole out that "lean in" advice. After all, these aren't just moms, these are doctors, teacher, lawyers and business executives.
7. For treating you like the household caterer when I come home to visit
Vegetarian? You come home and you have the options of three side dishes: mashed potatoes, green beans and a special tofu meatloaf. Hate mushrooms? You'll find a salad waiting for you, mushroom-free. Moms have that special instinct for knowing exactly what insane dietary needs her kids have and meeting them every damn time. But it's not easy. In 2014, sociologists from North Carolina State University found that the pressures to make family dinner can be a huge burden for moms. Moms aren't caterers, and we could chop a few more vegetables.
8. For saying "Sure, looks fine" when you ask me about your outfit
Maybe you wouldn't wear an L.L. Bean windbreaker or the latest Dansko clogs, but discounting the fact that your mom wants to look good and feel good — just as much as you do — also discounts her as her own woman. Spending that extra 20 minutes pouring through a J. Jill catalog isn't going to kill you. When she asks how she looks, actually look.
9. For forgetting that you have relationship problems, too
Sure, she or he may not have called last Friday night, but turning the tables every once in a while and asking her how her various relationships are — with her spouse, her friends, her own parents — is something too many of us forget to do. With a sizable portion of adults being divorced or separated, some of our moms might be on the dating market themselves. The next time we complain, remember that mom has boy or girl problems too.
10. For saying I would look into getting my own phone plan... then not doing it
Still on the "family plan?" Yeah, tons of us are. A 2011 Vibrant Nation survey found that 59% of Boomer-age mothers are still footing the cell phone bill for their millennial kids. Count in the Netflix and iTunes tax that kids put upon their parents, and that's a lot of extra support that parents still provide for us. Whether or not we do get out own phone plans, we at least need to apologize to Mom for our data plans.
11. For not sending Grandma a birthday card like I said I would
Getting Grandma's birthday card, starting that 401K and wearing a helmet are all nice, sensible things you should do — and all things your mother has incessantly reminded us of. While it seems like Mom is determined to spend her days filling up our "to-do" lists with chores, and reaching out to our relatives may seem like an hour we simply can't bite out of our current schedules — our moms have a point.
12. For getting you that random birthday gift because I didn't know what you actually wanted
We've spent about a quarter of a century with our moms. We should know her interests by now. Forget those drugstore candles, the last-minute flowers or the pot holders (again?). Besides, the best gifts we can give to our moms are new experiences.
13. For taking the train/plane/bus in at the most inconvenient hours
Shooting that text at 11:45 p.m. in the middle of a hailstorm, waiting to be picked up at the airport? It sounds a little too familiar. Because we deem ourselves "soooo busy," we squeeze in visits at times that are convenient for us and expect our moms to simply work around them. While the picked-you-up-in-my-PJs look is endearing, it deserves a huge thanks.
14. For acting like you haven't been through all of this before
We could delude ourselves with the notion that parents just don't understand, but the truth is, our moms have lived some version of our lives before us. The trouble with school, love, work and friends is territory that — special snowflake though you may be — your mom has already mastered before you. While generational gaps exist, give your mom a little credit.
15. For not admitting when you were right (and you're usually right)
OK, Mom. Getting apartment insurance, checking out that weird mole and dumping the person who kept standing us up was the right decision. We love you for having the wisdom before we ever did.